North-west view of Pottamarai Tank, Minakshi Amman Temple [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple], Madura
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Pottamarai Kulam (Golden Lily) Tank in the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex at Madurai, seen from the north-west, taken by a photographer of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1899-1900. The town of Madurai in Tamil Nadu was the capital of the Nayaka rulers, former governors of the Vijayanagara empire, in the 16th century. It is dominated by the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple that is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. The imposing complex as it now stands is largely the work of Tirumala Nayaka (ruled 1623-1659), the most illustrious of the Madurai Nayakas, who reconstructed the temple. The rectangular precinct covers 6 hectares and has 11 huge temple towers or gopurams, the four tallest marking entrances at the cardinal points. Inside this enclosure there are columned mandapas, tanks, shrines and the two temples of Shiva and Minakshi. The Golden Lily Tank is a rectangular tank or reservoir 50 metres long with stepped sides, surrounded by a colonnade with granite pillars. The walls are decorated with murals depicting scenes of the life of Shiva.